County reminds pet owners to prepare for El Nino

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SAN DIEGO - El Nino is promising to pack a punch this winter and now there's a warning for local residents to be ready and have a plan for your pets, especially in flood prone areas near the US-Mexico border.

Despite the summer like conditions Monday, horse owner Silke Hendrichs is preparing for rain and lots of it.

“It’s always a surprise when all of the sudden it happen,” said Silke Henrich, who owns several champion horses. “You can never really tell when its going to happen and that the difficulty in preparing.”

She boards her horses at the Sun Coast Ranch in the South Bay, an area surrounding the Tijuana riverbed that is prone to flooding under normal circumstances and now with the threat of the strongest El Nino we’ve seen in years - no one is taking any chances.

“We have a good plan, with emergency pens, for the horses,” said Henrichs. “We know which areas are prone to flood when the rain comes down hard.”

The county’s emergency services team held a press conference Monday to remind people to be mindful of their animals, especially smaller pets so they won't be stressed out if El Nino hits.

“We really want to encourage horse owners and other livestock to have a plan.”

In advance of El Nino the county has set up multiple online resources like www.READYSANDIEGO.ORG which recommends an evacuation plans, emergency kits and networking with neighbors.

For Henrichs, that means taking extra steps to insure the safety of her of her prized horses. She is in the process of building a new, elevated pen, to protect them against rising water.

“We have panel around it on the bottom an thick rubber mats on top of it so that the horses have a dry spot to stand and eat an rest.”

The ranch has built deep trenches and pumps to keep the water at bay and they have an evacuation plan should the need it.

County Animal Control is also urging owners to have animals micro-chipped so they can be found if they are separated.


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